By Chris Higgins
In the history of the world there have been a lot of big talkers, boasters, and braggarts. From the infomercial huckster hawking the latest, greatest gizmo to the newest guru’s incredibly awesome, life-changing, get-rich-quick system, there are always those who love to strut about the world’s stage like proud peacocks. But there is usually little substance behind all the blustery self-promotion.
Such was not the case when a carpenter from an insignificant little town dared to pick up a scroll, read from it a prophecy in Isaiah, and then declare to an astonished crowd that he was the fulfillment of that prophecy. It was a bold claim. And yet it was simply the truth—truth which has been substantiated over the last 2,000 years.
Freedom from Sin
Quoting Isaiah 61:1, 2, Jesus proclaimed that he was the one on whom the Lord’s Spirit rested. He claimed to be the one anointed to preach good news to the poor, freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, and release for the oppressed. He ushered in a new era of God’s favor, alluding to the Old Testament Year of Jubilee—a time every 50 years when people could have a fresh start. That’s what Jesus offered back then, just as he still does today—a new start. And Jesus delivered on all his claims.
Names like Charles Colson, C. S. Lewis, the apostle Paul, John Newton, William Wilberforce, and many others come to mind as proof that, in Christ, people can start over as new creations. And that, in the name of Christ, people can be set free from all manner of bondage.
Hope for Sinners
But the harder question, I believe, is trying to discern why we are not always set free from such oppression and bondage. There are times when I have to say with Paul that, though my sight has been restored, I still struggle with spiritual darkness. There are times when I do what I don’t want to do and don’t do what I should do. There are still times when I’m captive in Babylon and need a Year of Jubilee.
It’s a good thing that Jesus’ claims are as true today as they were when he first unrolled the scroll and proclaimed the year of the Lord’s favor.
Chris Higgins ministers with First Church of Christ in Owosso, Michigan. He and his wife, Lori, have three children: Daniel, Andrew, and Becca.
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